Crop Modeller

Salary: £38,250
Location: Any Hutton Location
Level: Hutton E
Deadline: 13/07/2020 23:59
Hours: 37
Benefits: Generous
Job Type: Fixed term - 3 years Tenure Track

The work undertaken by The James Hutton Group is right at the top of the global agenda tackling problems such as the impact of climate change and threats to food and water security.

The Information and Computational Sciences (ICS) Group brings together an exceptional combination of scientific skills and expertise. This ranges from genome scale bioinformatics to the modeling of edaphic or climate information on a geographical scale providing the Institute with a unique capacity to rise to the challenges that come from the new high-throughput data generation technologies that are revolutionising genome and diversity analysis.

We are seeking an experienced Crop Modeller to develop our research on linking crop science and agricultural systems, thereby contributing to our global food security and environmental sustainability research agenda. Working with experimental and application focussed scientists, you will focus on modelling interactions between crop genetics, physiology, phenotypic traits and the environment, and evaluate crop characteristics and management practices that enhance resource use efficiency and reduce risks associated with climate change.

The purpose of the post is to undertake research to integrate crop physiological mechanisms with environmental processes and management interventions to address concerns about the sustainable intensification of agricultural production in the light of challenges such as food security and environmental sustainability, all within the wider context of climate change, the economy, and supply of ecosystem services.

The focus will be on identifying trade-offs and synergies at different levels, evaluating ways in which the agriculture sector might contribute to meeting Scottish Government GHG emission reduction targets without adversely affecting crop production, and understanding how crops, crop management practices and cropping systems may adapt to future climates. The role will also contribute to developing the Institute’s capabilities regarding use of emerging digital data collection for precision agriculture purposes.

The work will contribute to the Scottish Government’s Strategic Research Programme, ClimateXChange Centre of Expertise, and other work currently being carried out on various externally funded projects.

You should have a PhD directly relevant to crop modelling, demonstrable experience in modelling biological systems at a range of spatial scales, and a high level of technical capability to undertake large and complex simulations. A track record of high-quality scientific publications in this area is required as is evidence of grant-winning abilities and demonstration of international collaboration. You should also have experience in working and communicating with scientists from multiple disciplines. Expertise in spatial analysis would be highly advantageous.

This post will require interacting with teams at both the Hutton Aberdeen and Dundee sites.

More information on the detail of the post and the post holder can be found below in the job description.

Main Duties of Postholder

  • To develop, adapt or use state-of-the-art crop models, and specifically DSSAT based models, to advance our understanding of the interactions between plant traits, physiological processes and environmental variables.
  • Collate and evaluate data for model calibration and validation purposes.
  • Utilise existing Institute cluster-based parallelisation capabilities to undertake large simulation runs using high resolution spatial input data and multiple climate model projections and present results spatially as maps.
  • To collaborate with scientists across a broad range of disciplines and scales to apply these models to evaluate the impact of changes in climate, land use and management on crop production and sustainability at the field, farm and landscape levels.
  • Publish high-quality peer reviewed scientific papers.
  • Contribute to the writing of successful research proposals for external funding.
  • Communicate research results to a range of audiences (e.g. policy makers, practitioners, the public) in appropriate formats.

The successful candidate would be expected to develop links with other research groups and international networks, and eventually establish their own research team by securing external funding. The post will integrate their research with the wider effort across the Institute.

Person Specification



  • Qualifications: PhD in a relevant subject such as mathematics, mathematical biology, plant physiology, physics or engineering.


  • Postdoctoral experience in modelling biological processes and/or environmental modelling.
  • A track record of high-quality scientific manuscript preparation and publication.
  • A track record in winning external funding.


  • Knowledge of crop physiological processes and how these are affected by genotype, environmental and crop management interactions.
  • Computer programming/coding.
  • Data manipulation, statistical and analytical assessment.

Other skills and attributes:

  • Integrative skills with a willingness to work as part of a team.
  • Ability to see the wider picture and translate real-world questions into researchable forms addressable by crop modelling.
  • Ability to plan work and nurture project teams.
  • Ability to work at pace and to deadlines.



  • Use of existing state-of-the-art crop models.
  • Evidence of the ability to publish in high-quality scientific journals.
  • Collaborative research with experimental scientists and technical support.


  • Computer programming and technical: use of computing clusters, use of R.
  • Understanding of the issues of uncertainty in modelling.
  • Ability to access data and critically assess it.
  • Use of tools for spatial data, GIS.

Other Skills:

  • Experience of working in international collaborations.
  • Ability to communicate research results to a range of audiences (particularly within industry and/or policy) in appropriate formats.
  • Knowledge of remote sensing techniques.
  • Understanding of Scottish geography and agriculture.

Other Skills

  • Driving license

Additional notes/Requirements

  • The post may require working at both Aberdeen and Dundee sites.
  • Due to potential lockdown requirements, the ability to undertake remote working (accessing and using institute computing facilities remotely) is required.
  • Please submit the details of 3 referees one of which must be your current or most recent employer as part of your application.

Note: Due to the current COVID-19 lockdown restrictions it is possible that interviewing of candidates will be held remotely. You should therefore ensure you have access to a broadband connection and ideally a PC or laptop.

The James Hutton Institute is a: Stonewall Diversity Champion; Athena SWAN Bronze Status Holder; Disability Confident Committed Employer and a Living Wage Employer.

We will not consider the use of 3rd party recruitment agencies for the sourcing of candidates for this position.

As they are under-represented in this area of our work we would particularly welcome applications from women.

posted: 17 June 2020     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.